Wayward Plane Sparks DC Panic

DC had a bit of evacuation action yesterday, when a single-engine Cessna wandered into the DC no-fly zone and triggered alarms in the Capitol, House and Senate office buildings, and the White House. People were evacuated, fighter jets and helicopters were scrambled, warning flares were fired, the plane was diverted, two confused amateur pilots were detained, and the news outlets had a field day.

I IRC’d briefly with someone whose daughter was on a DC field trip to the Capitol at the time. The students were hastily cleared out along with everyone else, but apparently tour groups have to leave their cellphones, cameras, and other pocketables at a security check-in before entering the Capitol, so a lot of concerned parents were unable to get in touch with their kids when the panic started.

Meanwhile, the President was out biking in Patuxent Wildlife Research Center after arriving last night from his visit to Europe. According to this NYTimes story, “Mr. Bush’s Secret Service detail … decided not to inform him of what was unfolding.” Make of that what you will.

Up here in Dupont Circle, we were completely unaware of anything happening, and when the news started popping up, the reflexive response was, “Another false alarm.”

More links:

DCist has the roundup.

Tom Bridge was there.

DCSOB didn’t notice it either.